Tuesday, 3 August 2021

CoC game in the sun

 This may be the first wargame I played outside in the sun,  but as we are a small group, double vaccinated and outside, felt safe enough to have a game of Chain of Command, hosted by WillB on his new terrain.  He extended it with an extensive town and fields which indeed became the focus of most of the fighting.

The Sicilian town with all of WillB's myriad of scatter terrain and civilians. The church which would play an important role in the defence from the German flank attack- from the right of the scene 

The German Panzergrenadiers (in tropical uniforms) are pinned by the mortar barrage as shown by the white cotton puffs.

 WillB has a nice report at his blog at : link

 As a new-off-the-boat lieutenant fresh from the Borden Training Camp, I had good help from my more experienced Sergeant, Craig, in navigating the decisions one must make with these rules.   The mortar barrage continued for a goodly amount of time and if it had continued, most of the German Panzergrenadiers would have eventually succumb to its effects but I would roll three 6's ending it.    ( I rolling three sixes?! and all at once?! And that = bad?! uggh...).    Of course the survivors of the mortars happened to be the machine gun crews.  The firepower now unleashed would shread - literally - any hope of defeating the town as on the other flank of the German two-pronged attack had forced my defenders from the stronghold of the church.  

The Canadians' simple tactics had no response to the firepower of the German's MG42s.  

Saturday, 31 July 2021

Battle of Vauchamps redux

The Prussians, confident the French army was but a fly to be swatted away on the march to Paris, sends Ziethen as the lead element of Kleist’s Corps with Hacke’s Cuirassiers and Kapzevich’s Russians in support chasing Marmont’s weak corps.  But just west of the village of Vauchamps, Marmont suddenly turns and moves against his pursuers.  The Prussians are puzzled by this until they see the French Imperial Guard horse and behind them the bearskin headdress of the Old Guard.  Oh dear, Napoleon must be here.

The house represents the town of Fromentiers and the Russian field hospital represents the Allies' LOC line of retreat  - an aim point for players to move their retreating elements
Kapzevich's Russians( at left) are moving to support the Prussians.

Now looking opposite from the west, showing Ziethen's command near the town of Vauchamps (lower right) and the bulk of Kliest's near the village of Janvilliers(upper left) with Hacke's Cuirassiers to his right .

Marmont's command turns to face the advancing Allies supported by Lefebvre's Guard Horse.  The French Imperial Guard infantry are still 'off-table'.  

Not only are they unwilling to face the renewed French force, they are soon attacked in the flank by Grouchy’s (Grew-she) large contingent of cuirassiers and French horse which cause panic throughout the Allies formations.  They are thrown back with large numbers in casualties and captured.

Sounds like fun to see if we can create this scenario.

The Old Guard and Napoleon arrive on table 

Grouchy's (pronounced: 'grew-she') cavalry about to fall on the Allies flank

The key is to have Grouchy’s flank attack remain unknown to the Allies. While some precautions for this will be necessary if in group play, as it was a solo game, I simply would forget to remember this as the Prussian player!

Kleist, the Prussian commander (at right) seems to contemplate on how he might get out of this situation with his troops pinned in squares (shown by the cubes) and his Corps Morale about to collapse.

The photos show some of the action of the game, but the outcome was very much like the real event with the Allies commands crumpling; although it must be said that Ziethen showed fine form in resisting the French much longer than anticipated by some adroit tactics minimizing the Guard Horse to a large degree.  However, the Old Guard momentum and the mass of French horse let loose to roam on the right flank of the Prussian column - for Kleist was unable to get much going (a combination of lack of command initiative and congestion) meant disaster for the Allies. Their collapse of Corps Morale led to the conclusion of the affair.

the busy Napoleonic battlefield


Sunday, 25 July 2021

Napoleonic era Swedish artillery created

Digging through the boxes of lead can lead to interesting projects.  I found a few Old Glory 1809 British artillerymen which is a bit early for my interests but more importantly for which I have no guns.  However I was just researching the uniforms of the Swedes during the Napoleonic wars (that is a very obscure topic and apparently even the Swedes themselves have little knowledge in the topic as there is dearth of information to be found in their archives if the old researchers are to be believed).  However in my hobby-within-a-hobby old papers consulted, at least one of the Swedish artillery unit's wore peak-less shakos in my 1813 time-frame and which to my wargamer’s squint, the version provided in the Perry’s British Hussar box would suffice.  I simply loped off the British heads and replaced with these plastic versions.  For the gun, I found an old miscellaneous howitzer to be painted a ‘bluish-green’ 

The bluish-green of the gun carriage is a guess. But I had not used that colour for awhile so what the heck!  The space on the back of the base is to attach a label with the Corps commander's name for identification during the game (a blue artillery unit look all the same from three feet away!) The thick base is used as we have down many units in plastic and encourage players to handle the base than the somewhat fragile figures so the thick base is easy to handle.

ed. note:   I missed the 'white collar' notation so must go back and repaint them.  Sounds a bit wrong having the collar a different colour than the cuffs but the Swedes certainly did have a different fashion sense in this era! 

ed. note No.2:  the buttons need to be white metal apparently and the shoulder straps need a repaint and I painted the plumes the white rather than yellow - Wow, I really did not read that caption well enough! Luckily I got the correct headdress glued on I think..... 

Sunday, 23 May 2021

new WW2 tanks

Not a lot of wargaming of note lately for me.  Always piddling about on this project or that, but nothing write home blog about.

Did do up a couple of Waffenkammer resin tanks included for me in an order by WillB [link to company].  I added a late war T-34 to go against any German Kitties (Panthers or Tigers) others might have for a game of 'What a Tanker', or to be hunted by my German panzerfaust-armed lads.  

T-34/85 with a 'Bad Squiddo' female driver (used as more 1:48 scale to the Warlord plastic infantry than the provided driver) She seems to be shaking her fist in defiance . 

But of course one just MUST do all the rust and weathering!  Mind you I really don't think tanks lasted long enough to acquire such wear in reality.

The other, a rather smaller R-35 in Italian employ for support of my Italian Camicie Nere/ Blackshirt militia contingent.  A famous ‘charge’ of 12 of these caused consternation for the Americans at Gera in Sicily… for several minutes….. 

The two man crewed R-35 with the supplied commander/gunloader/gunner having a seat outside ("unbuttoned") .  He is attached by a magnet in his knee...

...to the internal magnet which allows me to remove him and....

...manually close the hatch.  I managed to drill a very small hole through the hatch's hinge to allow a thin piece of plastic rod - the type which is used to attach price tags to clothing - to be fed through and squeezed at both ends so gluing was not required.     While not partial to resin, I do like the effect of it to portray the historically rough casting of the metal turret.

This R-35 was inspired by the following images of the tanks engaged at Geta:

Sunday, 18 April 2021

The Gordon's Square

Before the last convention - seems so long ago - I was given a bunch of Victrix Napoleonic era Highlanders so had gathered enough for a sizeable contingent.  As we were doing a Waterloo cavalry clash scenario I thought a square of infantry, or as it turned out a half-square, would be a good 'ground-filler' and obstruction for the swirling masses of cavalrymen.  I tacked these upon a chevron shaped board and had them in the battle.  However it seemed that most ignored them entirely, including myself apparently as I took no photos of them on the table! None. hmm. 

Fast forward to the recent days when I was playing around with the groups of miscellaneous "petal" bases a gaming buddy and entrepreneur had cut for me as samples ( as I am planning to order more in the near future!). 

3D-DZYN website for these bases and other good stuff.

I started arranging these and found that all the various 20mm rounds could be set up as a two-deep alignment and long enough to form part of a square formation, essential for facing a cavalry attack.  In this case, the rest of the square can be imagined off-table.

Of course the groups of bases can be placed in a line for those big-battalion games.

I would have liked more 'fill' in the square's centre (dead, wounded etc) but the piper keeping up the boy's spirits, plays his part.

French Cuirassier charge past

A couple of the lads show their contempt of the French efforts (old Westphalian Miniatures "rude Highlander" figures) 

If you look closely you can see the various groups of rounds.  I love the look as they do appear individual but can be moved as groups - good for aging wrists! See the link in the text for Ron's offerings. Added the dice frame on the Colours stand just in case it is needed in future games

Friday, 2 April 2021

silly old me...

Well, for those who are strictly Horse and Musket fans, my first post today was a War of 1812/ACW style battle.  While I intended to space things out a bit and post a solo WW2 engagement later, I guess I hit the wrong button and posted it also today.

Another Wandering Matilda

Once again an Australian Matilda tank finds itself alone in a Japanese village in 1946 (see previous post:  link  )

The Japanese (me, playing solo) planned a coordinated three sided attack by “lunge-mine” soldiers while the Japanese sniper would force the tank commander to button up making acquisition of his compatriots more difficult.  “Ieko” one of the Japanese attackers would be stationed in the temple and ring the bell within to indicate the tank has gone beyond the building commencing the attacks.

"Village of Machikoro, 1946"

The Australian tank commander now realizing his infantry support was, well, not in support, had no intention to blithely move thru the village [ and I rolled no Move Dice! ]  While looking about above the hatch, he ordered his gunner to shoot into the nearest building. [ I did roll the appropriate dice so he could do that!]  

“THAT should bring out any skulkers!” 

Ieko, observing through a slit in the window covering, noted the turret gun turn in his direction.  He rang the bell and took cover!

Teppo, the sniper, took a position around the corner of the building and fired. But to no effect. the Tank commander did not become aware he was being shot at.  Kenso, seeing the tank stop well outside a distance he could be expected to run (and that in front of the tank! ) decided to make his way thru the paddies to a position to the flank or rear of the tank.  

Editor note: For these games, I take the situation the miniature has at hand and try to make a logical and prudent decision of action before rolling its Command Dice.  This decision is often negated as the dice do not allow such, so I go with what the dice can allow. In this case I rolled three Move Dice and having no need of a Wild Die, also turned that into his run.  As the distance to the tank was considerable  so he went the other direction.  But of course the rolls I made for the distance would have had him safely to the tanks glacis and into the attack!  But that is 20/20 hindsight!

Ieko in the damaged building was immobile with shock (I rolled no Move dice for him) 

Meanwhile, the hull gunner was alert and spotted Teppo the sniper and opened up with his hull MG.  Poor Teppo was shredded with bullets as the main gun was reloaded.

Ichiro, crouching around the building’s corner having seen Teppo become chopped suey decided to move the OTHER way to in behind the now ruined temple. However with the dust of the explosion he too had no idea of the tank’s position [ no acquisition dice were rolled] 

The commander still ‘unbuttoned’ with his head above the hatch, demanded “Gunner, fire at the next building where the body is”.   “Ah, the damned *** again!” was the reply.  No shot could be taken.  “Move ahead” the CO allowed.  “There’s a bugger. Turn right and take him” as the tank had acquired Ichiro. But perhaps slowed by some building debris (?) but the tank could only go a very short three inches.  [ I had rolled a paltry 3 on two dice!!]

Meanwhile…. in his fast pace, Kenso had gone beyond a 90 degree visual range of the tank and so failed to see it move off away from him.  However, Ieko recovered and had a chance for an attack.  My roll for the Japanese soldier was 1,1,2,3,4,4 meaning he could Move 1D, Move another 1D, Acquire the tank, Aim ("ready himself") and Fire (press the lunge mine detonator against the tank).  It is lucky he had two Move dice as I rolled two 1s but as the tank was literally at his door step….For his life , he caused one permanent and one temporary damage to the hard shell of the Matilda. 

Immediately after Ichiro plunged his weapon against the frontal glacis of the tank. The explosion blew the commander out through the open hatch and destroyed his tank….the extra strike dice from being ‘unbuttoned’ proved fatal.  

Ichiro would turn to deliver his attack on the tank while the temple continues to smoulder

Cedar Creek - War of 1812 style

Solo play 28mm War of 1812 scenario “inspired by” [as Hollywood likes to state] the ACW battle of Cedar Creek.

 The early morning attack by the British/Confederate commander did not have the desired effect of the surprise and disorder of the numerous defending Americans/Union forces.   To simulate this potential disorder each American unit was given the number of disorder points equal to a d6 roll.  These disorder points could be quite inhibiting of combat and morale but true to my usual form, my rolling for this was low and so little disorder was shown in the American ranks. 

One of the most effected units was the large 9th US Regiment with four points of disorder (shown as ‘cannonballs’ in the following photo) and as it retreated back, threatened to crash into the second line of the 28th and 22nd US Regiments.  However a high roll for it’s “orders” allowed them to hold and start to regain its composure and prevented a rupture of the American centre.  

Nearby the 25th US engaged in a prolonged firefight with the deWatteville British Line Regiment (‘Swiss’) 

Note "the metal nut marker" lower right of the frame.  I improvised an indication of a locked combat should I need to come back to the game at a future time.  Will be making a better version(s) in the future. The 'cannonballs' indicate disorder points.

The other ‘Swiss’ regiment employed in Canada during the War of 1812, deMeuron, while decisively pushing back the 11th US in the middle, had been recovering from the effort and could not exploit the gap created. The remarkable firefight between the deWatteville and 25th US units had both units hors de combat.  The attack in the center had stalled. 

To the south, the  Incorporated Militia of Upper Canada could not hold again the counterattack of the much larger 21st US and fell back through the Upper Canada Militia following up across the creek.  The disordered militia also now fell back.  This attack had failed.

The red-coated IMUC facing the much larger U.S. Regiment.

The Upper Canada Militia 

The British commander (also me!) having placed British success (as did the original Confederate commander) upon the surprise attack against superior numbers and having his attacks quickly dissipate, ordered the withdrawal.

Finally got some of the collection on the table again.

Wednesday, 17 March 2021

Armour Rescue - WaT game


I really like this pic of WillB's "Cyclops" crossing my new bridge - see previous post-

Another fun battle of “What a Tanker!”  armour combat rules with WillB providing his collection of Sicily-appropriate Canadian tanks and a few German opposition.  I provided the terrain (probably more desert than Sicily but that is all I had Italian…) and, of course, using my new bridge. That did not surprise WillB.  The scenario was a ‘rescue’ of a immobile Valentine but functioning “Harry” by the intrepid C Troop of Canadians consisting of Shermans “Chief”, “Cyclops”, “Corvette” (a Firefly with a 17 lb) and “Cobault”.  Against these Allies were a PaK 35 waiting behind a stonewall, a Beutepanzer StuG M42 / Semovente 75/18, and, well, a big bad Tiger I. 

The battlefield with the PaK35 fifth in line to activate and WillB's tanks in the far corner.  "Harry" the track-missing Valentine is off-camera to the left and the Semovente to the right near the foremost clump of rocks.

C troop after 'Cobault' (left) was brewed by the Tiger.

WillB’s troop had a bit of rough time of it as the scenario had them bunched together and needing to crossing the bridge.  After the usual fits and starts and stops of WaT, the Valentine was destroyed and my Tiger finally took out a Sherman (poor “Cobault”) but “Cyclops” proved to be the star crew as it took out the PaK 35 (squish!) and distracted the Tiger.  At one point, I had positioned the Tiger for a nice close flank shot on the Sherman but had not the dice (yet) to shoot.  But “Cyclops” was in a position that, if it got initiative first, to move behind the Cat. The Kitty did not get to go first and so lost sight of the Sherman.  It was not “Cyclops” in the rear but “Corvette” and its powerful 17lb which took out the German beast.  That left the crew of the Semovente to call it a day and depart thus giving the area to the Canadians. 

The low profile Semovente tank-destroyer hull down on the hill was a hard target to hit

"Cyclops" (lower left) on the move to deal with the PaK. The other Shermans offer support.

just after 'Cyclops' moved behind the German Kitty which was unable to respond effectively and would be shortly shot....

.... and destroyed by the 17lb.   Yes, I was still "unbuttoned" but WillB had way more hits than I had armor saves! The extra had got did not matter....

"What a Tanker!" is an easy, fun game.  OK, it can be frustrating at times:

Yes, that was one of my command rolls!! For WaT it means I can REALLY aim but little else.

but of what I read and have learnt of tank combat, it is not far off the mark if you add a bit of narrative into each turn of play.  Things happen, things get FUBAR'd, commands are misunderstood, etc, etc. all this in a span of actually only several minutes of combat.  It has scratched my WW2 need in any case.

Wednesday, 10 March 2021

Just 'spruesing' around

 Inspired by videos on clever uses of left-over, ready for the rubbish bin, throw away plastic sprue frames after removing all the possible useful bits, I gave it a quick thought and came up with using sections as iron beams in construction of a bridge. 

My newly made “iron” bridge.  Scratch built (obviously!!) 

All the girders?, joists?, umm, the ah?…well, the iron bits anyway…. are cut from discarded plastic sprue frames and the bolts/nuts are thin sections of unused plastic medieval spears.  Note the use of “discarded”, “unused”.  While I might say it is to see what creative uses can be made from scrap, one could also say that I be just too cheap to get a good model.  But then, I can say that I had good fun for only a few pennies of cost.

The photos show some of the construction.  The length of the bridge was limited by the longest frame available.  I was not willing to try to shave down all the nobbly-nibbly bits  (see his YouTube vids for more ideas: youtube link   )  as this would compromise their widths and thus construction - and frankly a real pain in the *blank* to do!  So only certain lengths could be used.  Also, only half way through the cutting did I notice that the outer frame and inner connecting sprues could be different widths.  Hmm. 

The construction was done for effect and certainly not to any engineering specification.  It is sort of a cross between Bailey Bridge, a Tress Construction, and an Iron Girder form.  Civil engineers might have a chuckle but it does bear the weight of a tank, so it can’t be that poor a design! 

the napkin might be there to soak up any blood from cuts. Went unused ...this time.

Like the news anchor who is all suit-and-tie above the desk, but out of sight of the television camera is wearing comfortable sweatpants beneath, I don’t usually bother about painting that which is not normally seen.  But the following photo does show my use of discarded sprues.

I hesitated about using the rather glossy and very non-military green plastic primer but managed to cover with a dry brush of a lighter matt color then matt varnished (twice!).

The deck was made by using wooden coffee stir sticks on a card backing.  I used PVA/white  glue down the middle and a slow settling epoxy along the edges;  an idea to limit warping.  While it worked, I used too much PVA which, once touching the top surface of the wood would not take any staining, and the epoxy seeped through to the surface creating a yellowish stain.  Well, darn.   So I just used some earth-coloured paint and covered up the stains and dry-brushed some tread wear on the surface.  Quick and easy and looks OK-ish.  I think of it as a newly built bridge so not much wear on it yet.

The width of the model is about 7.5cm or 3 inches, wide enough anyway to take a 1:56 tank